Challenges in US-Central African Relations: Recent Incidents Raise Concerns

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read
US

In recent weeks, at least eight American nationals have faced administrative hurdles in Bangui. The latest incidents involve a journalist and another individual who were expelled on Thursday, placed on a flight to Douala, Cameroon, after eight days of difficulties, including an afternoon of interrogation at the Port-Amont police station.

Their passports, phones, and equipment had been confiscated. These incidents unfold as Washington has been attempting for several months to convince Bangui to sever ties with the Wagner Group, yielding no results thus far.

According to various observers, these troubles must be interpreted in the diplomatic context between the two countries. In December 2022, during the US-Africa Summit, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly urged President Touadéra to distance himself from the Wagner Group and proposed security alternatives.

Despite the death of Evgueni Prigojine in late August, Russian mercenaries continue their operations in the Central African Republic, both in the security and economic realms, particularly in mining and forestry exploitation.

The United States has sent mixed signals: initially discreet during the constitutional referendum on July 30, American diplomacy eventually expressed its “reservations” about the consultation in late August. On October 31, Bangui was excluded from the Agoa trade program due to “flagrant human rights violations” in the country, a largely symbolic sanction.

Simultaneously, in late September, a delegation from the American private security company Bancroft was received at the presidency, leading Wagner Group communication channels to mention the possible arrival of “CIA agents” in Bangui in November—an assertion echoed on social media by Central African government officials.

The US ambassador in Bangui has consistently engaged with Faustin-Archange Touadéra, most recently on November 6, discussing “strengthening bilateral cooperation and the importance of the democratic system,” according to the official statement. These incidents and complexities underscore the challenges in the evolving relationship between the United States and the Central African Republic.

Soukaina Sghir

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